Catastophic Hard Drive Failure RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi Folks,

    Any assistance for this issue would be most appreciated.

    Recently, my home server was locking up and would not boot. The subsequent diagnosis was that the hard drive was toast. The dealer cloned the drive onto a new one and then did a repair. System now boots

    The problem now is that under the storage tab, the new drive is not recognized and the old drive is classed as missing. From the Help suggestions I see that it wants me to "add" the new hard drive, which will result in reformating the drive.

    What I was going to do was: Copy my directories to a new drive, rebuild the server and then copy my directories back onto the server. Then hopefully my data and backups will still be accessible. The backup is important as my daughter's laptop smoked just before the server did and had to be rebuilt, losing all her data

    While this may take some time, I was wondering if there is an easier way to accomplish this?


    Friday, November 21, 2008 4:43 PM

All replies

  • To copy the backup database, see the Home Computer Backup technical brief, which tells you how to do so successfully. You shouldn't try to copy folder-to-folder; WHS doesn't use it's drives quite as most OSes would. what you can do is copy from a drive that used to be in the storage pool, either on a previous incarnation of the current server or on a previous server, to your server's shares.

    I have to warn you, however, if you have suffered a hard drive failure you may be unable to recover your backup database. If any component file is damaged, it's likely that there will be no way to recover backups.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, November 21, 2008 5:29 PM
  • Thanks Ken.

    I moved the backup databases as explained in the document, and they now magically re-appear in the backups of the original home computers....except for the one that was just rebuilt.

    Is there another way to open these backup databases to recover the data?

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 3:43 PM
  • Did you rename the failed computer when you rebuilt it? In order to hook the computer back up, the name normally has to match.

    If you still have a backup copy of the backup database, there are a couple of things you could try. You could remove the computer from the server using the console, rename the computer, run "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Home Server\discovery.exe" (which will rejoin it to the server) and see what happens after rebooting both it and the server. You could also try stopping the same services that the technical brief has you stop before copying the backup database, then rename all the files referencing the old computer name to match the new computer name (could be difficult since there are doubtless files for the new computer which will conflict).

    There is no third-party tool which will read the Windows Home Server backup database and let you recover files from it.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 4:25 PM
  • Ken is right, normally the backups should be accessible again once you join the the computers to the rebuilt server, that is if the Machine Name and Machine ID match.

    The procedure outlined by Ken could do the trick;

    1. Remove the rebuilt laptop from the WHS console (if already joined)
    2. Change the computer name of the laptop to the name it had before.
    3. Join the laptop to the the homeserver again using either "discovery.exe" as outlined above by Ken or (if you have not yet installed the latest version of the connector software on the computer) open internet explorer window on the laptop, then in the address bar type http://yourservername:55000 and install the connector software.

    Instead of this procedure you could also:

    1. Logon to your home server using remote desktop

    2. In the root of the C drive create a new text file (right click, new...)

    3. In the text file put the following lines: 

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00  
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Home Server\Transport\Clients\{ENTER_MACHINE_ID_HERE}]  

    4. Now to get the correct machine GUID for the laptop: 

        4a. Log on to your windows home server, browse to D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4}. 
        4b. Look for files with extension Machine.configdat. 
        4c. Open each of these files with a text editor and look for the old laptop name. 
        4d. The first part of name of the Machine.configdat in which you found the old laptop is the Machine ID (the part between the brackets)

    5. Put the correct values for MACHINE_ID and LAPTOP NAME in the text file

    6. Rename the textfile to joinlaptop.reg

    7.Double click to the file to merge the information with the registry

    8. Open the Windows Home Server Console, the laptop should now be listed again and the backups should be accessible

    9. Delete the joinlaptop.reg file

    You can now restore individual files of the laptop backups or do a full restore of the latop
    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 8:05 PM
  • I like brubber's recommendation better than mine, tbh. Much better solution (and I was hoping he'd wander by :) ).

    Note that this is an unusual situation you're in. Normally, the design of the backup tool (the backup database is essentially fungible) doesn't give this sort of problem, because normally you only experience one system failure at a time, then you recover and move on. However, you suffered a multi-system failure, and those can be very difficult to cope with. (And are a big part of why disaster planning consultants often pull down astronomical rates...)

    A few ways to mitigate the issue in the future:
    • Use the procedure outlined in the technical brief to manually back up the backup database occasionally.
    • Use the Backup DataBase Backup add-in (search for BDBB in the forums) for a more automated solution.
    • Put in place a household policy that all important documents must be stored on the server. This has two obvious benefits. 1.: You can turn on duplication and your data is protected against a single drive failure. 2.: You can use the server backup feature to back your shares up to an external drive and store that off-site. That protects data in case of e.g. a fire or flood.  A third, not so obvious benefit, is that your children will no longer have the excuse "I forgot to bring the disk with my homework to school." Their homework is on your server, and can be downloaded through the Remote Access web site...

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 9:25 PM
  • Thanks to you both. I will work on this when I get home. I will advise the outcome. Dean
    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 11:08 PM